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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-12-22

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [02] Election day officially announced
  • [03] Cyprus favours improved Greco-Turkish relations
  • [04] Stolen mosaics return home
  • [05] DIKO explains decision

  • 1615:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Dec 22 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    76.27 (-0.21)
    Highest: 82.46 (2/1/97)
    Lowest : 73.90 (30/1/97)
    Sectural Indices
    Banks                                  87.07 (+0.06)
    Approved Investment Companies          58.95 (+0.05)
    Insurance Companies                    57.40 (-1.27)
    Industrial Companies                   74.38 (-0.25)
    Tourist Industries                     61.78 (-0.10)
    Commercial Companies                   40.92 (-1.82)
    Other Companies                        64.76 (-0.74)
    Trading Volume                         CYP 847149.725
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA MCH/1997

    [02] Election day officially announced

    Nicosia, Dec 22 (CNA) -- Cypriots will go to the polls to elect a new president on February 8, the Minister of Interior George Stavrinakis announced here today.

    An official decree designated January 9 as the last day for presidential hopefuls to submit their bids.

    The five-year term in office of President Glafcos Clerides ends formally on February 28, 1998.

    Assistant chief returning officer George Theodorou said today the elections will cost about two million Cyprus pounds (four m. US dollars).

    He also said 18-year-olds will have the right to vote for the first time. The previous age ceiling for voting, which is compulsory in Cyprus, was 21.

    If there is more than one candidate, there will be a second ballot on February 15, he explained.

    So far, six persons, including incumbent President Clerides, have declared their decision to run for the presidency.

    Other candidates include former President George Vassiliou, Socialist EDEK leader Vasos Lyssarides, former Foreign Minister George Iacovou, and other party leaders.

    President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, who said earlier this year he would run, is expected to take a final decision after today's meeting of his party Central Bureau.

    Theodorou said about 1,000 polling stations will operate on election day and voting will take place from around seven in the morning until six in the evening.

    The number of registered voters is not yet known at present as Cypriot citizens can still register to as voters but in the last parliamentary elections, more than 400.000 people had the right to vote.

    CNA MM/MCH/1997

    [03] Cyprus favours improved Greco-Turkish relations

    Nicosia, Dec 22 (CNA) -- Cyprus favours all efforts aiming to improve Greco- Turkish relations as well as Turkey's European prospects, provided Ankara complies with the principles countries wishing to join the European Union respect.

    This was stated, here, today, by Government Spokesman, Manolis Christofides, stressing that "Greco-Turkish friendship would also imply a solution to the Cyprus problem in the framework of UN resolutions".

    Christofides said the government "supports Turkey's European aspirations", pointing out, however, that Ankara should respect the preconditions set by the EU.

    "Turkey's European prospect will also depend on the progress achieved in the Cyprus problem, and on abandoning its policy of trying to obstruct Cyprus' accession to the EU", the Spokesman added.

    Commenting on the prospects for a settlement in the coming year, Christofides pointed out that many foreign officials have described 1998 as "the year for Cyprus".

    "If all interested parties show good will, the Cyprus problem will not take long to be solved", he remarked.

    Asked to comment on the meeting in Washington between, US President, Bill Clinton and Turkish Prime Minister, Mesut Yilmaz, Christofides expressed satisfaction because the Cyprus problem was among the issues discussed by the two men.

    He pointed out that the US have repeatedly stated that the Cyprus problem ranks high in their list of priorities.

    "A solution to the Cyprus problem would serve vital American interests in the area", Christofides added.

    CNA MA/MCH/MM/1997

    [04] Stolen mosaics return home

    Nicosia, Dec 22 (CNA) -- Precious religious treasures, stolen from churches in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, were returned to their rightful owner today after a lengthy operation.

    Thirty-two pieces from frescoes from the occupied church of Antiphonitis and one mosaic from the church of Kanakaria in the village of Lythrangomi, found in the possession of a Turk art dealer in Germany Aydin Dikmen, are back in Cyprus.

    "Those who engage in the destruction of cultural heritage should know that, irrespective of their religious or other significance, any such treasures do not belong only to those who created them but also to humanity at large," vicar of a bishop Vasilios said, welcoming the relics.

    He said he was happy to have them back but saddened at the sorry state they were in.

    "They will be exhibited at the Archbishopric for the time being, until they are returned to their place of origin, the churches they were stolen from," he added.

    Hundreds of mosaic pieces have been located but so far only 32 of those were returned, he remarked.

    This is not the first time that stolen art treasures are returned to Cyprus. Earlier this decade, the Church of Cyprus repossessed four sixth century mosaics after a long legal battle in the US, where they were located.

    In a recent interview with CNA, Byzantilogist Athanasios Papageorgiou said churches in the Turkish occupied areas could not have been looted of their priceless frescoes and icons without the consent of the occupation regime.

    "It must have taken a few days to remove the frescoes of Saint Themonianos. This work could not have been carried out without anyone noticing, apart from the fact that the church is in a military zone," he said.

    "This implies that the frescoes were stolen not only with the tolerance of the occupation regime's but also its consent."

    The Cypriot expert said over 500 churches in the Turkish occupied areas, of which more than 100 are included in the list of ancient monuments as they were constructed before 1850, have been destroyed and looted.

    He stressed this is a policy followed by the occupation regime in a bid to change the Greek and Christian character of the areas occupied by Turkey since its 1974 invasion of Cyprus.

    "The destruction of Cyprus' religious and cultural heritage in the occupied north did not occur during a specific period but began after the Turkish invasion and continues until today", he added.

    Papageorgiou is one of the few people in Cyprus who know all archaeological and religious sites in the occupied areas, as he served as Ancient Monuments Curator from 1962 until 1989 and headed the Antiquities Department from 1989 until his retirement in 1991.

    When Cypriot treasures were recovered in two apartments in Munich, Papageorgiou was one of the persons asked to identify them.

    Asked how he felt when he came face-to-face with the cartons full of priceless frescoes, mosaics, icons and other artefacts stolen from churches and monasteries in the occupied areas, Papageorgiou compared his feelings to a parent who sees his child dismembered.

    "I cared for and restored these frescoes, and in Munich I saw them cut up into pieces. How could a person who loved and cared for these artefacts for years feel."

    Asked if he believes Aydin Dikmen's arrest will help solve the problem, Papageorgiou pointed out that the Turkish smuggler was the person who collected the artefacts "upon orders from people from Holland, the US, Greece and other countries with more knowledge than him."

    He added these people, some of whom are known to the Cypriot authorities but there is no evidence which could be held against them in court, acted as Dikmen's middlemen and advisors.

    "Today they are all millionaires through selling priceless stolen Cypriot artefacts," he said.

    CNA MA/MM/MCH/1997

    [05] DIKO explains decision

    Nicosia, Dec 22 (CNA) -- Presidential candidate George Iacovou, backed by the main opposition party AKEL, represents the best available choice, Democratic Party leader Spyros Kyprianou said here today.

    "Iacovou may be a technocrat but he does take on commitments. We have compared choices and come to the conclusion that he is the best choice," Kyprianou added.

    Announcing his party decision to back independent presidential hopeful Iacovou, who served under Kyprianou's government in the 1980s as Foreign Minister, DIKO President said Iacovou's electoral campaign programme is "very satisfactory."

    DIKO leader said the decision to back Iacovou was taken with the national interest in mind.

    He also said he trusts Iacovou a lot more than he trusts President Glafcos Clerides.

    After a "lively discussion among Central Committee members, 79 of them voted for backing Iacovou's candidacy, seven against and five abstained," Kyprianou told the press this evening.

    Iacovou is backed by the main opposition left-wing AKEL party, a former coalition partner of DIKO in the early 1980s.

    Kyprianou was very critical of his former coalition partner over the past five years, incumbent President Clerides, who is seeking re-election.

    Responding to DIKO's decision, Iacovou pledged to work towards implementation of commitments made and described the cooperation as a political cooperation.

    "I am sure with this decision my candidacy assumes such a momentum that our victory in the presidential elections will be achieved," he said.

    CNA MM/MCH/1997
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